The Q&A Archives: Dividing a Rhododendron

Question: How do you divide a rhododendron?

Answer: It's best not to try to divide a rhododendron. If you want to propagate it so you'll have more plants, you can do so through a process called layering. Layering is a way plants naturally propagate themselves - branches bend to the ground and root from the stems, creating a separate new plant. You'll help your rhododendron to do this: bend a branch to the ground and loosen the soil where the branch hits. Wound the underside of branch that will be buried by scratching or cutting it with a knife. This stimulates root formation. Bury the wounded stem 3-4" deep and pin it in place with a bent wire (an old croquet wicket works great). Mulch the disturbed soil with moist leaves and keep the area from drying out. The branch should root within a year, and you can separate it from the parent plant, and either pot it up or move it to a garden bed until it's large enough to plant in its permanent home. Enjoy!

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